UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Caminando y miando : a reflection on academic practice Horner, Geoffrey Allen


This thesis is an exploration of academic methodologies including scholarly distance, the archive, and linear time, using the insights that I gained as a researcher and friend with Refugio Gregorio Bautista, a Nu Savi traditional food chef from Oaxaca; Mexico, Pedro Herminio Bautista Rojas, also Nu Savi from Oaxaca and an agricultural expert; and Jaalen Edenshaw, a Haida carver from Masset, B.C.. During my time with these three indigenous people and their communities, I learned about different aspects of their ancestral practices, and participated in different ways in their work, planting, cooking Oaxacan chocolate mole sauce, as well as sharing stories and experiences. In this dissertation, I use the insights that I have gained so far from my experience with them to explore ways in which the three central tools of the disciplines of history and anthropology are limiting due to a legacy of the trivialization of non-written ways of knowing. Though some scholars are increasingly focused on the embodied aspects of scholarly work that often go unacknowledged or unappreciated, my experience with Pedro, Doña Vicky and Jaalen has opened me to the possibility of ways of knowing that put embodiment and relationships to the land at the centre of knowing. Through a dialogue with academic sources and with the three participants, I traverse different facets of the construction of knowledge as it takes place in academic settings where people rely heavily on visual and textual systems for the production of truth and meaning. Supplementary video material is available at: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/44078

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